The lines may be blurring in terms of what a small drone can do vs what a big drone is capable of, but still, size matters. Should you look for small drones, or do you need a large beast to accomplish your aerial goals? The answer depends on your needs of your flight, and your ability to safely transport your machine. Folding drones have really made a difference to size, but that’s only part of the story.
Let’s explore how your needs can best be met, these are the best drones for different tasks, based on size.
Why trust Drone Rush?
I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.
Keeping things small is great for first time fliers and children. Most all toy-class drones are light-weight, which is nice. However, small does not necessarily mean it’s a toy. There are some high-end quadcopters out there that are small and light-weight as well. Not to mention powerful enough to really hurt if you get in the way of the propellers.
Small drones allow for easy portability, and if you go small enough, you get to where you can safely fly indoors. We explored nano drones recently, the smallest of the small, they can barely hurt a fly. Anything larger and heavier than a nano drone will produce enough power to hurt, or punch holes in walls, consider the risks before taking off.
This is not a best list, not exactly, but these are solid drones we’ve flown or recommend for each segment.
Hubsan H111: Tiny nano drone for indoor flight
The Hubsan H111 is a fantastic drone for any pilot. It’s tiny enough to safely fly indoors, it’s easy to fly, but challenging enough to help hone your skills on the sticks. Enjoy about 5 minutes of flight per charge, which is perfect for those mid-afternoon breaks from real life.
Syma X5C: Resilient toy drone for your first outdoor flight
The Syma X5C is a solid starter drone for those that want an inexpensive machine to learn how to fly. It’s large and powerful enough to fly outdoors in a light breeze, and simple enough to be enjoyable.
DJI Mini 2: A 4K camera in a mini drone
The DJI Mini 2 is one of the most accessible GPS-enabled drones on the market. The 4K camera is as good as your smartphone, and the drone is equipped for great flight time and connectivity range. Best of all, the Mini 2 weighs less than 250 grams, meaning you do not need to register it with the FAA before you fly.
DJI FPV: Hybrid camera-racing drone
The DJI FPV may be the most fun you’ll have at the sticks of a small drone. In one mode, enjoy the FPV as a 4K camera drone, use the hybrid mode to learn how a racing drone differs from a camera drone, or pop it into full manual to experience the full glory of drone racing, including speeds up to 87mph. The optional Motion Controller changes how you fly a drone.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro: The best consumer drone around
The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is one of the most powerful consumer drones around, including great flight time, a big 1-inch sensor producing 4K video and more. Multi-direction obstacle avoidance sensors make it one of the sazfest drones in the sky as well, and the display in the remote control offers key telemetrics for pilots without an attached smartphone.
A large size drone adds many logistical difficulties, like not fitting in your backpack, but usually offers a much more stable flight. As mentioned, the smoother you need photo or video capture to be, generally speaking, the larger you’ll want your drone.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0: Big consumer-drone
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is the best Phantom drone built for consumers. With over a dozen predecessors in the line, DJI put a lot of great things into the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, including a big 4K camera, Ocusync connectivity, and almost all of the best flight and safety features. This big, powerful drone is fun to fly, but tips the scales in terms of being too large to be convenient. You can attach it to a backpack, but it will not fit inside of the average shoulder bag.
Yuneec Typhoon H3: A big hexacopter with a great camera
The Yuneec Typhoon H3 is the result of several iterations of hexacopter from Yuneec. This drone is made for professional photography from the sky, packing a 4K camera that was co-engineered with Leica. Enjoy the proven reliability of a hexacopter from Yuneec as you haul around this big machine. Even folded down, it will not fit in your backpack, but it’s still small enough you can sling it on your back to take on the go.